What Happens When Insurance Companies Overrun Our Trial Rules?
In Colorado, the law restricts juries from hearing certain evidence at trial, and this often directly contradicts exactly what juries want to know. Juries want to know who got the ticket. Juries want to know why car insurance didn’t settle up. The Colorado Rules of Evidence prevent evidence of liability insurance except for certain pieces of evidence and where the defendant does not admit causing the car wreck. If the Defendant does not admit to causing your car wreck, your attorney cannot tell the jury about the Defendant’s car insurance unless it is to prove that a witness called by the Defendant was motivated by a substantial relationship with that car insurance company. If the defendant admits causing the car wreck, then whether the jury gets to hear about the car insurance depends on whether it will cause the jury to be distracted from the evidence provided.
Juries also want testifying police officers to say more than just the defendant caused the car wreck. They want to know that the defendant got a ticket. The law restricts this knowledge because Colorado believes that people pay for tickets even if they are innocent, for convenience sake.
Insurance companies want to restrict this information from trial because they feel it makes them more likely to lose.
On the other hand, insurance companies want juries to know that injured people have health insurance, that attorneys referred injured people to medical providers, and that The Sawaya Law Firm is representing an injured person.
Insurance companies are not allowed to tell jurors about an injured person’s health insurance because Colorado correctly believes that such knowledge would diminish the real value of the medical treatment in trial. If an X-Ray costs $100, a person will claim that value at trial. If that person has health insurance, the health insurance may have only paid $50 to satisfy that bill. The injured person would only have to pay back $50. If only the paid amount were admissible at trial there would be many problems, but the biggest is that the Defendant would be able to take advantage of the wealth and foresight of the injured person’s pre-negotiated health insurance, paying less than what the actual bill value. That Defendant may not be deterred from paying closer attention in the future. Car insurance companies would not account as much for the risky behavior of their drivers.
Insurance companies want jurors to know that injured people were referred to medical providers by attorneys, if true. Insurance companies want juries to believe that an injured person is in a conspiracy with attorneys to steal money from the insurance companies. This is their defense attorneys’ biggest argument at trial. Insurance companies know that their refusal to pay and existence are kept out of trial so they try to take advantage of the involvement of an injured person’s attorney. In reality, many people have not been injured in car wrecks before and their own family doctors will not see them for various reasons. Attorneys that do personal injury know doctors that treat people injured car wrecks and who will accommodate whatever financial situation of an injured person.
Lastly, insurance companies want jurors to know that The Sawaya Law Firm represents an injured person. The insurance defense attorneys try to tell juries that because The Sawaya Law Firm advertises, we must be in the business of making up injuries on behalf of our clients, again to take advantage of the poor insurance companies.
The insurance industry is very powerful and well-funded. If you think what they are trying to do is wrong, please contact your state legislator. In the meantime, do not let the insurance company deceive you when good, hard-working people are injured at the hands of their insureds.